Upcoming October festivals & events – Tampa Bay

As Florida Illustrated celebrated its 1-yr anniversary, I entertained the idea of letting people know about some of my favorite events in town before they actually happen. Although Creative Loafing and the Tampa Bay Times already do a great job with this, I thought I’d give it a shot. September was the first month I did a monthly calendar of events for the Tampa Bay area. Since there are a lot of awesome events happening around Tampa Bay this October, I decided to do a calendar for it as well. What follows is a list of events I have been to and love along with events I am interested in checking out for the first time this year.

Stone Crab festivals

I love these festivals so much that last year I attended two of them and wrote a blog post for each, Celebrating the Florida Stone Crab and Frenchy’s Stone Crab Weekend. I plan to combine and update them this year, but until then, here is a list of the major stone crab/seafood festivals in the Tampa Bay area this October:

Dunedin Craft Beer & Crab Festival: October 22-23, 2016 in Edgewater Park

Frenchy’s 32nd Annual Stone Crab Weekend: October 21st-22nd, 2016 on Clearwater Beach

Cooter’s 23rd Annual Crab Fest: October 20-23, 2016 at Cooter’s Restaurant and Bar on Clearwater Beach

John’s Pass Seafood & Music Festival: October 27-30, 2016 in the city of Madeira Beach


Clearwater Jazz Holiday: October 13-16, 2016

Clearwater Jazz Holiday really is a holiday for me. Everything gets cast aside so I can carry a lawn chair into Coachman Park each day and listen to hours of jazz music. For four days in a row, festival food is what’s for dinner. The line-up has diversified in recent years to include more than just jazz musicians, and it seems the festival has become even more popular as a result. This year’s lineup includes the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, The Commodores, Kool & The Gang, and Daryl Hall (of Hall & Oates). See the full lineup on the festival website: https://www.clearwaterjazz.com/. General Admission is $16 a day in advance or $25 the day of.


Movies in the Park

You may remember my post from last year, “Dinner & A Movie, Dunedin Style.” If you are interested in having a similar adventure, this is the time of year to do it. Every Friday in October, starting October 7th this year, the City of Dunedin is hosting Films in the Park. This year they will be playing Little Giants on Oct 7th, Cinderella on Oct 14th, Hotel Transylvania 2 on Oct 21st, and The Book of Life on Oct 28th. Films start at sundown in Pioneer Park. Admission is free. Bring your own chair/blanket.

flims in the park

Every Friday in October, Dunedin hosts outdoor movies in Pioneer Park.

Pumpkin Smash: October 8th

The Pint & Brew has announced the dates for its annual Pumpkin Smash. It will be on Saturday, October 8th, this year from 12 pm to 12 am. They will have 32 fall beers, including both pumpkin beers and Oktoberfest beers. The full draft list is already posted on Facebook, and it looks amazing. There will be an outside area with a beer tent this year.

Pumpkin Smash 2015 at The Pint & Brew

Pumpkin Smash 2015 at The Pint & Brew

Local haunts

You probably already know about Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights and Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream, but the Tampa Bay area has several additional options for scaring up a good time this October. Every year before Halloween, the Tampa Bay Times does a fantastic piece in the Weekender describing all the local haunted attractions. They even have their own Halloween page online: http://www.tampabay.com/things-to-do/halloween/. This year the list of attractions includes ghost tours, haunted houses, haunted walks in the woods, costume parties, and more. The highlights: A Channelside ghost ship tour called the Chamber of Terror, Guavaween in Tampa, Dunedin/Casa Tina’s Day of the Dead festival, and ghost tours in Ybor City and Safety Harbor.

Tampa Bay Burger Week: October 13-23, 2016 Dates changed to October 20-30, 2016

Creative Loafing’s Tampa Bay Burger Week is only in its second year, but it’s already on my list. The list of participating restaurants for 2016 hasn’t been posted yet. Twenty-six restaurants participated in 2015, including Kelly’s, The Dunedin Smokehouse, The Hyde Out, Compass Grill, The Franklin, EATS! American Grill, BurgerFi, and Beef O’ Brady’s.

Clearwater Super Boat Races: Sept 30th – Oct 2nd

I haven’t actually been to this event, but it is on my list for this year. It’s more than just a boat race. The event is actually 3 days long, and includes a parade, a block party, a meet and greet, and a seafood festival leading up to the races on Sunday. Watching from the beach is free. For additional details, see their website: http://superboat.com/.


If you live in the Tampa Bay area and you missed my 2016 Oktoberfest article, you should check it out HERE. Oktoberfest Tampa, Top of the Bay Oktoberfest, and Tarpon Springs Oktoberfest are all coming up in the month of October.



Categories: Festivals & Events, Tampa Bay areaTags: ,

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